created by Glenn Tamashiro

Hello and welcome. This site was developed to keep you informed about the various lessons and activities that are held in our Government/Economics and Honors Government/AP Macroeconomics classes.


HGov: Winning the Presidency

John Stossel goes to a Romney rally to show what happens behind the curtain. Hundreds of people work for hours and hours to produce the political theater that gets voters to the polls. Nicole Busch reveals what life on the road is like and demonstrate the love/hate relationship between campaigns and the media. Neither side trusts the other, but they both need and feed off of each other.

The most high stakes events are the debates. Experts reveal what goes on in the secret debate prep sessions. Debate coaches who prepped a real President coach Stossel. Stossel learns from his debate prep that style and confidence often matter more than substance.

One thing is for sure: people don’t always vote based on their knowledge of the issues. Stossel learns this all too well when he shows people on the street pictures of prominent politicians. Many don’t even recognize the Vice President.

Today @ 6:00 – watch 1st Presidential Debate


Econ: Economic Systems Review

Basic economic questions, economic goals, types of economic system, strengths & weaknesses of economic system.


HGov: Media Influences on Campaigns

Campaign Commercials-2
Political campaigns use a number of persuasive techniques in an attempt to influence the opinions of voters. The more you know of these techniques, the better you will be at analyzing political advertising.

Name-calling uses personal attacks on an opponent to distract voters from the real issues of the campaign. The goal is to inspire doubts about the opponent’s fitness for office by appealing to people’s fears or prejudices.

Transfer uses symbols or images that evoke emotion to something unrelated, such as a candidate or proposition.

Bandwagon creates the impression that “everyone” supports a cause or candidate. This technique plays on people’s desire to conform or climb on the bandwagon, rather than be left behind.

Plain folks uses folksy or everyday images and language too show that the candidate is a regular person who understands the needs and concerns of the common people.

Testimonials is using a well-known celebrity or personality endorse a candidate or proposal. The hope is that voters will follow the celebrity’s example without questioning his or her qualifications to make such a judgement.

Card-stacking is presenting facts, statistics, and other evidences that support only one side of the argument.

Glittering generalities uses vague, sweeping statements that appeal to voters emotionally, but do not actually say much of anything specific. Candidates and proposals are often described in lofty terms.

Political advertisements usually fall into two groups. The first group deals with issues, the second with images. Ads in either group can be positive or negative. Positive ads are aimed at making you like or respect a candidate, while negative ads are designed to make you dislike or fear his or her opponent. 

Positive issue ads promote a candidate’s position on topics calculated to appeal to voters. Negative issue ads, on the other hand, criticize the opponent’s stand on issues of importance to voters.

A positive image ads might show the candidate as a selfless public servant, a strong leader, or someone who cares about ordinary people. The candidate might be portrayed as a hero or as just “plain folk.” In contrast, a negative image ads might portray the opponent as weak, inexperienced, or lacking in integrity. Often negative ads include unflattering photographs of the opposition candidate. The desired effect is to convince voters that this person is somehow unfit for public office.

Chapter 6 Quiz II – closes Thursday 9/29


Econ: Economic System Strenths and Weaknesses

TraditionalSystemOne of the few advantages existing in a traditional economy is that the roles of individuals are clearly defined. Every member of the society knows exactly what they are to do and most don’t have any complaints about it. There are also many disadvantages to this type of society. These societies are often very slow to change and when new technologies are introduced, these ideas and techniques are discouraged.

CommandSystemCommand economies focuses on equality and the government tries to eliminate all private property and distribute its good equally. If done correctly no one is in poverty and no one is wealthier than another. Social services are also emphasized in this type of economy. The government will provide equal health care, education opportunities, and make sure all people are fed. Another strength pf this type of economy is that it is capable of rapid change for major problems. The government owns the companies, so if production needs need to be shifted into a different area, the government is capable of doing it rather quickly. Finally, command economies are very stable. Command economies will never have sudden depressions. Command economies also have many weaknesses. In a command economy there is very little freedom. The individual usually doesn’t have the opportunity to decide what they want to do for a career, and they have no control over the goods they receive. Another major problem is that there is little reason for innovations, hard work, or quality of the work. Since no one makes more money than everyone else, the people feel like there is no reason to work hard. Another weakness is that there is little focus on consumer wants. Finally, when it comes to minor day-to-day changes, the government has a hard time coping with them.

MarketSystemA strength of a market economy is it can adjust to change easily. If there is a demand for one thing, companies have the ability to change what they produce instead of having to go through too much government. People have the ability to make as much money as they can and do what is in their best interest. Another strength of a market economy is that the government tries to stay out of the way of businesses. Although the government sets certain standards businesses must follow, for the most part businesses can do as they please, allowing them to produce what they want, how they want. The market economy produces a great variety of goods and services for consumers. If there is a demand for a good or service, the demand will almost always be met in a market economy. A weakness of a market economy is that it doesn’t always provide the basic needs to everyone in the society. The weak, sick, disabled, and old sometimes have trouble providing for themselves and often slip into poverty. Another problem is that it becomes hard for a government with so many private businesses to provide adequate defense, education, and health care to its people. Another weakness to this type of economy is that there is uncertainty in the business world. One company could easily be forced out of business causing all of its employees to become unemployed and lose their means of income. Finally, there are market failures. This can cause some companies to become too powerful and become a monopoly. If the government doesn’t step in, the monopoly can take advantage of the consumers and charge higher prices.

Chapter 2 Quiz II retest – closes Thursday 9/29


HGov: Functions of Media

The news media, old and new, have four essential roles in a democracy.

First, in their signaling function, journalists communicate information to the public about breaking events and new developments. This information makes citizens aware of developments that impact their lives. However, because of the media’s need to attract an audience, breaking news stories often focus on developments, such as celebrity scandals, that have little to do with issues of politics and government.

In a second function, that of watchdog, the press acts to protect the public by exposing deceitful, careless, or corrupt officials.

Third, the press functions as a common carrier in that it provides political leaders with a channel for addressing the public. Increasingly, however, the news has centered nearly as much on the journalists themselves as the newsmakers they cover.

Finally, the press functions as a partisan advocate. Although the traditional media perform this function to a degree, the newer media, the talk shows and blogs, specialize in it. Their influence has contributed to a rising level of political polarization in the United States.


Econ: Andersonville Economy

All society must develop an economic system to answer the basic economic questions. While we usually identify economic systems with a country (the United States has a market oriented system; the former Soviet Union had a command system), it is also possible to identify an economic system at a micro level. Students will examine how a group of civil war prisoners developed an economic system within their camp, a system designed to allocate scarce resources.

After our discussion, we read “Andersonville, What Really Happened.”  We read it, underlining those aspects of the Andersonville economy that reflect a command approach and circling those aspects that reflect a market approach. Finally we shared our ideas on the question: “Is it appropriate to label the Andersonville system as a market economy?” We learned that this economic system, like many economic systems, was a mixture of market and command economic systems.


HGov: Influencing Media

Public officials at all levels of government work hard to both attract and shape media coverage. The most common way to do this is by staging an event and inviting the press. Presidential press conferences are an example of staged events.

Politicians also try to influence the press by granting interviews to reporters. Often they set ground rules that indicate what information reporters can use and how they can identify their source. If it is an on-the-record conversation, the report can quote the public official by name. If it is an off-the-record conversation, the reporter can use the information but may not reveal the source.

When speaking on the record, politicians usually put their own spin on issues. Their goal is to convince both reporters and the public that their view of events is the correct one. They also try to include colorful sound bites that capture their main points in just a few words. They know that short sound bites are more likely to be run in news stories than are long speeches.

Public officials sometimes use off-the-record conversations to float trial balloons. A trial balloon is a proposal that is shared with the press to test public reaction to it. If the reaction is negative, the official can let the proposal die without ever having his or her name attached to it.

Off-the-record conversations are also used to leak information to the press. A leak is the unofficial release of confidential information to the media. Public officials leak information for many reasons. They may want to expose wrongdoing, stir up support for or opposition to a proposal, spin the way an event is covered, or curry favor with reporters.

Many Americans believe that the media have a liberal or conservative bias. Nevertheless, most professional journalists strive to be fair and unbiased in their reporting. What critics see as media bias may be a reflection of how news organizations work. Most news media outlets are businesses. They need to attract readers, listeners, or viewers to survive. With limited space or time to fill, their reporters, editors, and producers have to make choices about what stories to cover. These decisions are less likely to be motivated by political ideology than by what they think will attract and hold an audience.